EDE International

EDE International develops country-specific product ranges and targeted concepts for sales and dialogue throughout Europe. This makes the association attractive for members and cooperation partners in many European countries. Synergies are being created along the entire value chain. In view of a demanding economic situation and other challenges, the year 2023 was characterised by an even closer spirit of collaboration. Whether digitalisation or sustainability: the intensification of the Europe-wide network and closer collaboration create new opportunities that benefit everyone involved. EDE International was able to gain new partners both at the association level and on the member and supplier side.

The stagnating economy in Germany had a direct impact on Europe, even if international markets performed slightly better with little momentum. The international business closed 2023 with growth of around 10 per cent in the warehouse business compared to 2022 – the increase was partly due to organic growth in some of our main markets such as Austria, Poland, the Netherlands and Spain. The strengthening of the trademarks had a positive effect. By contrast, Central Payment and Chain transactions declined slightly due to the termination of the collaboration with the ZEDEV Einkauf- und Service AG in the previous year as well as declines in the area of power tools and on the part of a cooperation partner.

New cooperation partners integrated

With United Hardware Ltd. in Ireland and the EQIP in France, we have succeeded in gaining well-known new co-operation partners. EDE International also actively supported the start of the collaboration with the Belgian company Bricks & Tools/ProCooP. The acquisition of the Puag AG by e + h Services AG was an important gain in Switzerland. In total, more than ten new members were acquired in 2023, and more than 60 new dealers were added via existing cooperation partners in Europe. In addition, new steel traders were acquired in France and Belgium in close cooperation with the ESH EURO STAHL-Handel. Another focus area was the development of new product ranges, particularly in the tools and HVAC segment. In Central Payment and Chain transactions, we were able to acquire 64 new supplier contracts for our European network and a further 65 country settlement expansions in the area of building services for Europe.

Of central importance here for EDE International is the ongoing care for and intensification of existing partnerships in order to provide the entire service portfolio of the E/D/E Group to the association throughout Europe. The focal points in 2023 included actively supporting the generational change at DELCREDIT España and the strategic realignment of our cooperation partners CECOFERSA, EHLIS, Ferney and CDU. Among other things, the intensive preparations for the introduction of the FORUM concept in Italy are contributing to a greater depth of integration with the CDU. The two Spanish cooperation partners EHLIS and ASIDE were recruited for the European competence group “European Hardware Network (EHN)” in 2023.

Digital sales concepts

Digitalisation and the potential arising from it continued to occupy all partners intensively in 2023. To this end, EDE International has launched the “FORMAT 3.0” sales concept, which focuses on digital marketing and digital sales. With this modern marketing mix, retailers can operate even more successfully on the market. The objective here for the industrial B2B sector is to network with customers at all levels, both in person and online. Catalogues continue to serve as important sales support but are increasingly being supplemented by digital channels – including FORMAT landing pages in the respective national languages. With our own resources, we provide intensive support for catalogues and data projects for the country markets we serve. In order to accompany this, EDE International has designed and introduced new digital training concepts.

Personal proximity in the markets remains essential

Numerous face-to-face events, conferences and visits from members and suppliers served to promote personal dialogue. We organised three successful marketplaces in Spain, Poland and the Czech Republic/Slovakia, and were also present at local trade fairs and supplier days. These sales activities once again confirmed that our competent, local employees – with their experience and knowledge of the regional markets – make a decisive difference for our partners.


For the current year, EDE International anticipates a sideways economic trend with slight growth in the European business. We will extend the digital transformation to other sales concepts – such as “FORUMplus”. We are planning to expand the “EHN (European Hardware Network)” competence group with additional cooperation partners and suppliers from Europe. Together with our partners, we are taking a comprehensive look at the digital transformation in order to position ourselves for the future within the European network – and not only in terms of sales and marketing but also with regard to topics such as modern data management, the use of AI, e-commerce and the ongoing digitalisation of almost all business processes.

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